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Richmond hospital acquires fast-scanning CT

RICHMOND, B.C. – A state-of-the-art CT scanner at the Milan and Maureen Ilich Medical Imaging Centre is bringing diagnostic imaging at Richmond Hospital to a new level. This equipment was funded 100% by donations to the Richmond Hospital Foundation.

The $1.7 million 128-slice Adaptive CT scanner is an upgrade from Richmond Hospital’s old 16-slice CT scanner. The new CT scanner will be unique in the industry as it will adapt to almost any patient size – it is built to accommodate patients of up to 550 pounds.

It also delivers unprecedented high quality diagnostic images, up to 68% less radiation and 50% faster scanning time than previous technology. This unique CT scanner will be able to do something the hospital’s old machine can’t – cardiac imaging and non-invasive virtual colonography.

“It can help physicians determine the stage of cancers to help evaluate trauma and stroke patients, to assess abdominal problems, and to diagnose many other injuries and illnesses,” said Dr. Ian Dunn, Medical Director of the Diagnostic Imaging Department. “Our new machine can now provide 3-dimensional images, which means that our doctors can make a better diagnosis with a precise pre-operative view.

“Patients can continue to expect the highest levels of care. It is a device that is used daily by radiologists,” added Dr. Dunn. “As a teaching hospital, the new CT scanner will also enhance Richmond Hospital’s ability in teaching and training.”

CT is one of the best tools for looking at the chest and the abdomen. The pictures from a CT let doctors see, measure and precisely locate tumors. CT exams are often used to plan and properly administer radiation treatments for tumors, to guide biopsies and other minimally invasive procedures and to plan surgery. Last year in the Richmond Hospital’s Milan and Maureen Ilich Medical Imaging Centre, 84,618 exams were conducted, of which 12,696 were CT exams.

Emergency physician Dr. Bill West said “In terms of emergency care, the new CT scanner is faster and the image quality is second to none. In fact, because doctors are able to see images more precisely using different formats, diagnosis and therapy can be expedited. These factors mean a reduction in the length of each patient’s hospital visit without affecting his or her quality of care. In the end, this efficiency of care means shorter wait times for anyone wishing to be seen in the department. Most important of all, patients can be assured that the best technology is being used in their care and treatment. It is like night and day compared to the old scanner.”

“The emergency physicians at Richmond Hospital are very grateful for the incredibly generous community support our department has received. Moreover, through the hard work of The Foundation, Richmond Hospital now has the most advanced medical imaging equipment available to serve its great community. Combined with the ongoing new renovations, Richmond will have one of the best equipped and state of the art emergency departments in the Lower Mainland,” said Dr. West.

CT exams clearly identify internal injuries to the liver, spleen and kidney. The image show even very small bones as well as surrounding tissues like muscle and blood vessels. This makes CT invaluable for diagnosing and treating injuries to the hands and feet as well as spinal problems. CT images can also be used to measure bone mineral density for the detection of osteoporosis. CT can also play a significant role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease that can lead to stroke, kidney failure and death.

Due to the recent purchase of a new MRI machine from Siemens, Richmond Hospital has been able to secure the state-of-the-art 128-slice Adaptive CT scanner from Siemens at a cost of $500,000, far below market value.

The new CT scanner is now up and running and the old one was donated to Powell River Hospital.

“Thanks to the community’s generous support, we now have this new scanner that will allow our doctors to pick precisely which cross-section of body parts we want to study,” says Lisa Westermark, Chief Executive Officer of the Richmond Hospital Foundation. “We can now provide world class diagnostic imaging service to our patients.”

Richmond Hospital Foundation is a registered charity that is committed to raising money to fill the gap between government funding and the greater needs of Richmond Hospital. Over 85% of new and replacement medical equipment of Richmond Hospital is funded by the Richmond Hospital Foundation.

Posted June 3, 2010